A Cafe’s Beautiful Botanical Design

Interior design and features of the Ilex Cafe & Events, Botanic Gardens, Christchurch.

There was a simple premise to the design of Ilex Café that is located in the Visitors Centre in Christchurch’s Botanical Gardens. It is simply, beauty attracts.


Architect Andrew Patterson of Patterson Associates, the architect behind the design, has a strong ethos of creating buildings that feel like they naturally ‘belong’.

For Patterson, a building needed to fit into a landscape, into a place, into an environment, a time and a place, and then the people in that building will likely feel a sense of belonging there as well. The design of the Ilex Café grew from an idea to connect people and plants.

It was the beautiful botanical environment that was attracting people, so Patterson aimed to create a building that would attract people, because it was beautiful. The building references the old Victorian glasshouses of yesteryear with lots of glass to provide 360 degree views of the gardens.

The front facade of the building is glazed and forms a zig-zag shape. Within the glass façade there is a walk passage, the kitchen and cafe border the passageway, mirroring the same zig-zag shape as the façade. High St to Home: The botanical beauty of Ilex Cafe | Stuff.co.nz